The Candlelight Processional is one of the most popular holiday activities at Walt Disney World. And for good reason! With celebrity guest speakers, insanely talented vocal artists and musicians, and an overall feel-good message, this event is one of our favorites. For the best seats, and a shorter wait in line, the Candlelight Processional dining package is your best bet. Read on to find out all about how this package works and if this is right for your Disney vacation.
Candlelight Processional at EPCOT
With the arrival of the holidays, there’s so much to do! And EPCOT pulls out all the stops. Festival of the Holidays is in full swing after Thanksgiving and the Candlelight Processional takes center stage every night in the America Gardens Theatre. The Candlelight Processional is one of our favorite offerings. Each night, a celebrity narrator tells the Christmas story interwoven with the sounds of the season. Along with the narrator, guests can enjoy the vocal talents of Voices of Liberty, a choir of cast members, and an orchestra. We think this show is a must-see! It’s heartwarming, entertaining, and might even make you a bit emotional.
It is a fan favorite of many Disney guests, as well as many of the celebrities who narrate it. If you love Christmas music, or the Christmas story, this should be on your holiday to-do list at Walt Disney World!
Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The Candlelight Processional Dining Package is a hot ticket at Walt Disney World during the holidays. Rather than standing in the standby queue for hours, yes sometimes several hours, you can purchase a dining package that will guarantee you a seat. But these dining packages go quickly. Usually selling out as soon as they become available, they are a much sought-after commodity. The actual show is included in your ticket to EPCOT. So, you definitely don’t have to pay extra for a package to see it.
How does the Candlelight Processional Dining Package Work?
Basically, reserving a package is the same process as making dining reservations at Walt Disney World. There are only a select number of restaurants offering the package, and only at certain times. The time you reserve for your meal coincides with the time of the show included. There are three showtimes, 5:15 pm, 7:00 pm, and 8:30 pm. You can find dining packages for the Candlelight Processional here.
When you reserve your package, the time for your Candlelight Processional seating will show up. Generally, the time will coincide with the show’s seating time. So, if you get a 12:30 Garden Grill reservation, then you’ll most likely get a 5:15 pm show seating. Or if you happen to book a 6:00 pm dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse, then you can expect your show time to be the latest showing at 8:30.
Your meal comes with a specific set of items. An appetizer, entree, non-alcoholic drink, and dessert are generally included. We ate at Rose and Crown, and the cost of the package was only about $12 more per person than we would have paid if we had just gotten the regular meal.
After you’ve had your meal and paid for it, you’ll receive your tickets for the show. Be sure to hold on to these! These ensure your entrance into the show and allow you to leave for drinks or restroom breaks while still holding your seat.
Cost of the Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The cost of the Candlelight Processional Dining Package varies by restaurant. And ranges from $40-$100 per person for adults and $23-$51 for children 3-9. You can find the full list of restaurants and prices here.
Tips to get a Candlelight Processional Dining Package
Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are available to book 60 days prior and can be booked 60 days from the start of your vacation. There’s a catch though. Disney doesn’t always release them 60 days prior. Sometimes they’re a little behind. In this case, you need to be ready to book them as soon as they become available if they happen to release late. Because they sell out fast!
But if you’re unable to get a dining package when they first become available, never fear. There will be other chances! If you don’t get a dining package, here are a couple of other things you can do. Keep checking. Disney just updated its dining cancellation policy to a 2-hour cancellation window. This means you can potentially find a dining package on the day of the show. That’s actually what we did! Just keep refreshing that reservation screen and something is sure to pop up. In a matter of 10 minutes, we had the opportunity to book 3 different dining slots for this package. I was specifically waiting for one with the 7:00 pm show, so I kept refreshing until I found one. You have to be quick to grab these last-minute reservations, but it’s definitely not impossible to score one.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse Candlelight Processional Dining Package
Another option is getting a dining package through Regal Eagle Smokehouse or Spice Road Table. These are only available on the day of the show and must be made in person. They’re also cheaper. You’ll want to get in line at either of the restaurants 30-45 minutes before they open. This is especially true if you’re hoping to get a package for a popular speaker or a popular time. These are limited and are not guaranteed. They only have a limited number of packages available for each showtime, so if you have your heart set on a specific time, getting there earlier is best.
Is the Candlelight Processional Dining Package refundable?
You don’t technically pay for the dining package until it’s time to eat! And Disney’s newest dining cancellation policy allows for cancellations with no fees 2 hours ahead of time. So, if something comes up and you need to cancel, you can just do this right in the My Disney Experience app. If you need to cancel closer to your reservation 2 hours ahead of time, they will generally charge you a $10 cancellation fee. But you can always call and see if they are able to waive that for you.
What to do if you can’t get a Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The Candlelight Processional dining package is a great way to save some time and be guaranteed a seat to see the show. If you can’t get a package, whether due to the cost or just being unable to get one, there are other options! Joining the standby line is usually a pretty good bet. And they generally start letting guests in around 20-30 minutes before the show starts. Depending on who you are seeing and at what time, you can expect to get in line at least 45 minutes beforehand. The first show tends to be the least popular, so if you can’t get a package, planning to see this one may help your chances.
Another option is to stand at the very back, behind the theatre. There are areas that are roped off showing you where you cannot stand, but many people will claim their spot well ahead of time. If you plan to do this, just keep in mind that you’ll have to stand for the entire show. And it’s an hour, so you have to be ok with standing for that long.
Or you can plan to see a less popular speaker. It’s often possible to get into the show without much standing in line at all. So, if you don’t care who narrates, you could be in luck! And if your schedule allows you to skip weekends, you may have better luck as well. Weeknights generally tend to be less busy. And these are often a good choice for those who plan to use Standby but don’t want to wait so long.
Is the Candlelight Processional Dining Package worth it?
It really depends! It depends on the speaker, how busy Epcot is the day you’re there, and how much of a must-see this show is for you. For us, it was worth it. Our holiday trip was very short and waiting an hour in line to see the processional was just not practical for us. Since our trip was so short, the only day we were able to see the Processional was the day that Whoopi Goldberg was narrating, and she tends to draw a pretty big crowd. The same will go for speakers like Neal Patrick Harris or Josh Gad. There was a family of 6 who sat in front of us at this show that was able to get very good seats right at 7:00. And for them I’m sure not waiting in line for 2-3 hours with their four children was well worth it. It really depends on your situation. Depending on where you dine, the upcharge is sometimes not much more than dinner would have cost anyway, so it’s really a matter of figuring out if that extra amount is worth it to you.
But if you’re at Epcot on a weeknight with a speaker that’s a little lesser known, you could probably get away with skipping it and now having to wait too long in line. The year we saw Warwick Davis narrate, we literally walked right into the show with no wait time, and it was probably the most incredible narration we’ve seen yet. So, it really depends on a lot of factors and will vary case by case. It’s definitely possible to have a wonderful experience without the dining package.
Headed to the Candlelight Processional? Check out our tips for the Candlelight Processional to make the most of your time. We hope you love this show as much as we do! Happy Holidays!
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